Northern Ireland

Shared Island funding announcements expected for projects including UU Derry campus

Ulster University's Magee Campus in Derry.
Ulster University's Magee Campus in Derry.

INVESTMENT of over €50 million is expected to be announced today for several north-south projects from the Shared Ireland fund, including for the planned new Ulster University campus in Derry.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is expected to announce the funding, which will include around €45 million for a new teaching and student services building at the university's Magee campus. 

The funds for the Derry campus project will be provided through the Republic's Department of Further and Higher Education, and the new building will see new lecture and seminar spaces provided alongside computer labs and student service spaces.

Read More: Leading economist warns Magee expansion vital for north west economy

Ulster University plans to increase student numbers at its Derry campus to over 6,500, and the development project will strengthen teaching and research ties between UU and the Atlantic Technological University in Letterkenny and Killybegs in Co Donegal, further promoting cross-border education in the north-west region.

There have been calls to expand the Magee campus for several decades, and the expansion was a commitment in the 2020 New Decade, New Approach deal signed by the Irish and British governments to restore power sharing at Stormont.

Speaking in the Dail last month, the Taoiseach said the Irish government was "working to move ahead this year with our commitment under the New Decade, New Approach agreement to capital investment at Ulster University’s campus in Derry to expand provision for young people in the region".

Meanwhile, a new Youth Forum will also be set up as part of the Shared Island initiative, bringing together up to 80 young people from both sides of the border and from across all communities later this year to set out their vision and values for a shared future on the island.

Other projects expected to receive funding include a new all-island respite and therapeutic centre for children diagnosed with cancer and their families, two new all-island bioeconomy demonstrator facilities for the agriculture and marine sectors, and funding to complete the tender process for the long-awaited Narrow Water Bridge project.